As an expat, living in a different culture, I have come to realize how important questions are. I daily ask dozens and dozens of questions. This helps me make sense of the world I live in, which helps since Indonesia is very different from the USA in its culture and customs.
I recently read “7 Habits of a Happy Expat” on www.globalcoachcenter.com. Curiosity was the number 1 habit they listed. They said: “Happy expats are intensely curious. Coming to another land is always interesting. You get to learn about the culture, you get to experience a different way of life, you get to try new foods, and maybe even a new sport and new hobbies. A whole new world opens up for you. Being curious around this new world leads to happiness.”
When my friend, Santi and I, were leading a group of tourists to do a homestay in a local village home, we explained to them how much we wanted them to get to know the family. “Ask questions about everything” we suggested. As an example, we had a contest between the two of us of who could ask the most questions for the three days we were there. I learned so much about the Riau Melayu family we stayed with, about their home, about the ocean, and the village. Questions were the key to unlocking hidden knowledge, to unlocking their hearts, and we became so close with our host family.
As a leader, it is not important that we know everything. You never will. But, as a leader, it is extremely important to continue to be a learner, to seek and search out sound knowledge and wisdom, to remain curious every day about the people, ideas and projects happening around us.
Questions for Reflection:
Would you still consider yourself a continual learner? If not, how can you change this?
In what areas as a leader have you felt you’ve already learned all you can?
What are ways you can stretch yourself and be more curious in your daily life?